Chiropractic Therapy for Infant and Adult Torticollis | What is Torticollis?

Chiropractic Therapy for Infant and Adult Torticollis | What is Torticollis?

Many people have heard of torticollis. But what is torticollis? Torticollis is a condition that affects the cervical spine muscles causing them to involuntarily contract pulling the head into an abnormal posture. Usually torticollis pulls the head towards the shoulder while simultaneously rotating the head to the left or right.  Torticollis can be acute torticollis or chronic. Some patients suffer long term torticollis which is in the family of dystonia. Usually acute torticollis will resolve over time on its own, however a unique from of care called Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic which specializes in neck alignment can help torticollis remit more quickly.  It has also been affective intreating patients with the more severe form of torticollis known as spasmodic torticollis, like dystonia. Later in this article we will give a brief synopsis on what Blair Upper Cervical Technique is and how it can help your friends and family recover form torticollis and help improve general health. In this article we will discuss -What is torticollis? And we will discuss how the upper cervical spine misalignment can be a precipitating factor in its development and its correction.

What is Torticollis?

Torticollis is a neck condition involving the muscles of the neck which causes the head to tilt down and to the right or left. The term comes from two Latin words: tortus, which means twisted, and collum, which means neck. Torticollis neck can also be called “wryneck.”

If your baby has the condition at birth, it’s called congenital muscular torticollis. That’s the most common type of torticollis condition in infants.

Babies can also develop the condition after birth. Then it’s called “acquired,” rather than congenital. Acquired torticollis may be linked to other, more serious medical issues. But usually is the result of a difficult birth process that can cause the atlas vertebrae at the top of the neck to misalign and cause the muscles in the neck to spasm involuntarily.

Torticollis Symptoms in Adults- What is Torticollis?

The most common symptoms include:

  • an inability to move your head normally.
  • neck pain or stiffness.
  • a headache.
  • having one shoulder higher than the other.
  • swollen neck muscles.
  • a tilting of your chin to one side.

Torticollis Symptoms in Infants-What is Torticollis?

  • Constantly leaning the head in only one direction.
  • Headaches (which is difficult to determine in infants)
  • Head tremors.
  • Neck pain.
  • One shoulder may be higher on the body than the other shoulder.
  • Neck muscle stiffness.
  • Neck muscle swelling (may be present right after birth)

Acute Torticollis Vs Chronic Torticollis-How Long Torticollis Last?

Acute torticollis is torticollis that has a sudden onset and resolves quickly. Whereas chronic torticollis is a more serious condition in which the torticollis symptoms are long term and chronic. Chronic torticollis is more often termed spasmodic torticollis or dystonia.


Torticollis Causes-What is Torticollis?

Torticollis causes can be many. But there is one thing that underlies all off the precipitating factors-Cervical spine injury and atlas and or axis subluxation.

Many people who suffer with torticollis find its onset happens following sleep with a window was open where cool air unevenly cooled the neck causing one side of the muscles to lock down and the other not. Others can happen following neck trauma. Infants can develop torticollis shortly after birth. The process of birth can be quite traumatic on the upper cervical spine. Deliveries that are difficult often require vacuum extraction or forceps which apply nearly 50 lbs of force into the neck. While this may be necessary to save a child’s life it can induce force that causes upper cervical spine subluxation which can cause abnormal muscle tone in the cervical spine.


Chiropractic Torticollis Therapy- What is Torticollis?

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care is one of the best things that you can do to help someone recover from torticollis. Torticollis can be the symptom or effect of abnormal joint motion in the cervical spine. Trauma in the neck, whether it is a forceps delivery at birth, a sports injury, or other blunt trauma can misalign the joints in the neck and cause the muscles to involuntarily spasm. Many believe this can be the result of one of the joints locking out of position and a mensicoid disc locking mechanism. In response, the muscles in the neck spasm because of the aberrant neurology that comes from poor joint motion. Getting to a trained Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractor can help the neck restore normal motion and allow for better nervous system function.

What is Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic? What is Torticollis?

What exactly does an upper cervical chiropractor do? Blair upper cervical chiropractors are specially trained to locate and correct structural misalignments in the upper cervical spine. While the goal of Blair upper cervical care is not to correct posture, it is a side benefit of removing nerve interference. Since the postural centers are located in the brainstem, it is paramount that this area of the spine not be compromised by prior neck injury. 

Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractors take precise imaging in the form of cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) or digital x-ray to determine the exact direction of joint misalignment. This works because the joints in the neck are mirror images of one another.  Therefore, if a whiplash or other injury damages the soft tissue and ligaments that support normal joint motion, and the joints become misaligned imaging each individual joint allows the doctor to see how you are out of alignment and the angulation of your joints. This information is then used to make a precise spinal correction unique the individuals misalignment and anatomy. Once corrected, the patient is then monitored over time to ensure that the body is healing, and the correction is staying in its normal range of motion. If on subsequent visits the vertebrae have misaligned another correction is administered. If the objective tests indicate that there is no interference and the vertebrae are in their proper range of motion, then no correction is necessary. By monitoring a patient over time, and allowing the central nervous system to function normally, torticollis and other health conditions can recover under the bodies own control.

If you or a loved one is looking for torticollis relief or just looking to be healthier our Los Angeles offices offer a FREE consultation. Los Angeles office 213 399-7772 and Carson office 310 324-6172. We hope this article about- What is torticollis was helpful and will improve someone’s life who acts on it.

Benign paroxysmal torticollis

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Dr. Drew Hall is a Los Angeles and Carson Chiropractor who serves patients from Long Beach, Torrance, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Burbank, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Westwood, Pasadena, Culver City, Hollywood and Orange County.


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    Drew Hall

    Dr. Drew Hall and Upper Cervical Chiropractic Health Care welcomes you to our website. We have two offices in the Los Angeles area. Specialty Doctors in both Los Angeles - and Carson work with you to improve specific problem areas, nerve functions, and overall health. The Blair technique, a specialty within Upper Cervical Chiropractic, is what we practice. This technique removes impediments to normal neurological function by correcting spinal misalignments at the cranio-cervical junction (CCJ- head- skull). A specific and non-invasive correction, done after x-rays and a series of tests, precisely corrects misalignments of the neck and upper spine. Muscle strain, neck pain, migraine headaches, sciatica, trigeminal neuralgia, Ménière's disease, insomnia, chronic pain, carpal tunnel, pain due to injury or muscle strain, and chronic back pain are among the ailments that can be improved or eliminated through this type of care.